After Mr. Shafer so rudely pillaged my town’s crop of used cars the other day, I got to thinking…Imagine, if you will, that you had a spare $2000 and needed (or in true CC baller style, just wanted) another vehicle. Further, you had a week of spare time and wanted to see some of this wonderful country. Perhaps you’d like to breathe some fresh mountain air and enjoy a nice drive home?
The question is easy: Which of the below eight choices, all to be had for under $2000, would you choose to purchase and drive all the way home and why? (for those from distant lands, assume you would drive to a deepwater port on one of our coasts and ship it home for all of your friends and family to admire.) If you can or want, let us know how far of a trip that would be too; you’d be starting near Denver.
I have virtually previewed all of them for you by closely reading the ad copy and studying the pictures and have every confidence that each one will at least drive far enough for the seller to get back in his or her house and lock the door before anything noticeable needs repairing.. All cars sold for cash only “As Is, Where Is” with no warranty either expressed or implied. You’ll be fine.
Consider what you like in a vehicle, the likelihood of your journey actually being successful without major maladies, as well as the potential future usefulness and your enjoyment of the vehicle once in your own driveway. All vehicles are located within an hour of Denver International Airport and conform to the unofficial CC guideline of being at least twenty years of age. Just remember: They don’t build ’em like they used to, so here you go!
Our opening contender is the above 1991 Chrysler New Yorker. Is any K-Car worth $2000? Well, this one might be, it seems like the creampuffiest of all Chrysler creampuffs. Garage kept with only about 76,000 miles, this 1991 Chrysler New Yorker could be yours for $2000 before you try to haggle. Judging by its appearance, someone’s grandparents really took care of this car.
While we were planning the Detroit Meetup earlier this year, Mr. Shafer and I did discuss the possibility of me potentially buying something to arrive in true Detroit style with. While due to various reasons (mainly time) that plan never came to fruition, had something like this been available, it certainly would have been a contender.
Here’s the ad: “This car is in great shape!!.. Older but runs good, has been kept in the garage for a long time, low original miles!!!… Please call or text with any questions!!.. ”
Those seats look VERY comfortable to me. And while the dash looks very similar (OK, too similar) to what you’d get in a Dodge Spirit, the little touches of plastic timber do perk things up a lot. I love the interior color although it’s completely impractical for our local climate and sometimes sloppy conditions, what’s it called?
It even has the Gold Package. Or maybe they all did, I’m not sure. Being a 1991, it’s a “Salon”model as the “Landau” version was dropped. Still, the Salon got more equipment that year as well as the hidden headlights. And wire wheel hubcaps I guess. My biggest gripe with these is they look too narrow, just like everyone complains about a lot of Japanese cars. Still, those seats, the back bench looks just as good if not even better.
In case the New Yorker doesn’t float your boat, here’s a beautiful example of Buick’s midsize LeSabre. Dating to 1996, this one has apparently just successfully driven to California and back, so it is likely to not present too much difficulty on another journey. Sporting Buick’s excellent 3800 V-6, this will likely be such a smooth and quiet ride, you’ll fall asleep while driving.
Here’s the ad itself with all the details:
“1996 Buick LeSabre Limited, Runs excellent. 141k miles. Brand new tires and brakes. Power everything. Family owned since new. The car was parked for almost 5 years. Clean title. Passed inspection.
Drove it to California and back for Thanksgiving holiday with no problems. Very reliable car. $1750 or best reasonable offer.”
This Buick actually looks to be in very good condition and while the paint might be looking a little faded, could easily provide years more of faithful service.
Here’s Colorado’s favorite car and top seller, a Subaru Outback. With standard AWD this might be a good option for anyone heading straight north from here. Sure, the miles are up there at 266,000 but if the head gaskets were going to leak, they have either done so by now or they never will. The interior looks like new (almost), but at any rate better than most with this kind of mileage. For $1250 how can you go wrong?
Here’s the details on this one, I’ll bet you could haggle the price down even further:
“1996 Subaru outback. Automatic. Power windows and doors. CD player. Good tires. Reliable AWD that is great in the snow.
* New starter installed just a couple of weeks ago. New fuel filter.
* 1 year ago : New battery, CV axle and rear brakes.
* 2 years ago: New ball joints.
* 3 yrs ago: New alternator and battery cables. New front brakes and rotors.
* 4 yrs ago: New catalytic converter. New tie-rods. New struts.
I have most all of the maintenance records.
A few things to note. The paint on the hood is faded very badly, otherwise the outside is in good shape with no rust. Has never been in an accident. Like all of the older Subarus, this one burns some oil. I always topped it off every other tank of gas. If you keep a check on the oil, this car should keep going for a long time. The check engine light has intermittently come on and off but has always passed emissions.”
It’s an automatic so that’s Subaru’s venerable 2.5liter H-4 right there, producing the power of 155 thrumming little ponies. At least you know if it breaks down, anybody within at least 500 miles of here in any direction (except maybe east) can fix it.
Yeah, baby, here we go! For only $1550, you can cruise along the interstate in true comfort and style. This one’s down near Denver, but just look at it. A 1993 Lincoln Town Car Cartier. This is my own personal favorite generation of Town Car and this color combination is fairly rare but works. It does have 229,000 miles on it but that just means that unlike your average older Audi, the odometer apparently seems to actually work.
Check out those seats! All-day comfort right there. Here’s the ad copy:
“1993 Lincoln Town Car Cartier Designer Sedan 4 Door.
What a pampered car! Words cannot describe how comfortable this car is.
This wonderful car has been very well maintained. Replacement Jasper engine V8, 4.6 Liter, Re manufactured four speed overdrive automatic transmission, Replacement Air Conditioning Compressor. Working Climate Control, it has Great Heat. Working Air Suspension. Very reliable, and a pleasure to drive.
It is so much more comfortable than most other cars on the road.” It is so quiet, you have a hard time believing that the engine is running. Grandma was too old to drive this car and gave it up. Rust Free! Wonderful Leather Seats! True Factory Dual Exhaust. 25 + MPG on the road.”
Did these really get 25mpg on the highway? Impressive if so. Looks like all the breakable stuff has been replaces, but no details on exactly when…
Still, the engine looks good in this picture, and I can think of worse ways to spend $1550…You’d better get it quick, otherwise Tom Klockau might beat you to the punch!
If you want to be the Mopar version of Jason Shafer then this Plymouth Belvedere is for you. You can meet up somewhere in America on the way to the next CC Meetup in your dueling ’63’s. This is so far before my time I have no idea if this was a competitor to his Galaxie in the showroom or not. I’m sure you all know though.
The chrome all looks pretty good and the hubcaps are in place too. Apparently this guy rarely sells stuff on Craigslist as he actually says he welcomes any and all questions (well, as long as they are in writing)! Here’s the ad:
“I’m selling my beloved Belvedere. 1963 with a V8 318 and push-button automatic torqueflite transmission. The transmission was rebuilt 3 years ago. Mechanically the car is very strong, but it is a project. It needs body and interior to be complete. It’s a pure joy to drive and a wonderful car overall. I’m asking $1800 OR BEST OFFER. Ask me questions, I have the answers. Text or email only please.”
The keys are in it, and that pushbutton transmission on the left is cool. That speedometer looks as big as one you’d find on a new MINI, and overall this seems like a comfy place to spend hours and hours and hours…The front seats are little torn up, but nothing a blanket won’t fix while the back seat looked to be in very good condition. All the car really needs is a wash and a wax (while avoiding the patinated areas) and you can rock your skinny jeans and black framed glasses all the way to the martini bar.
Ooh, how about a Mustang with the 5.0 for only $1,800? Well ok, it’s really only a 4.9 but 5.0 sounds better, right? Holy crap, only 84k miles, a V8, AND a convertible, and it’s the special anniversary year GT350 edition? What’s the catch? Well, there is one but it won’t stop you from jumping in to that almost immaculate interior and driving home so read on.
White on red just works for convertibles, and especially this one. Back in ’84 this was the epitome of cool, and sounded great. So what’s the catch you say? Well, scroll down but it’s not that bad, really.
You have a cousin that works at a body shop, right? Yeah, that won’t just buff out but doesn’t look THAT bad. The seller is even including a new quarter panel. Here’s the somewhat skimpy ad:
“1984 GT350 convertable, 5.0,Auto,aprox 84k. This is a nice driver that needs some restoration work. Nice interior, newer top, original Wheels, damaged right rear 1/4 panel. Have replacement included. $1,800”
But maybe you want something a little more, shall we say, “continental”. Well, for just $1500 or best offer you can have this gorgeous 1992 Alfa Romeo 164L. Sporting Alfa’s lovely V6 with a manual transmission, this’d certainly be a car you wouldn’t be seeing another one of at every interstate rest stop.
And guess what? No touch screen, just more buttons than the Space Shuttle as God and his main man down here, the Pope, intended. I think the engine is on in this picture and there are only three warning lights on, one of which is probably the parking brake, so that’s not bad at all, right?
But even if it does all go wrong and you find yourself at the side of the road, it’d be worth it to be able to just look at that absolutely gorgeous V-6. Could this be the most beautiful transversely installed engine of all time? Yes, yes it could. Those runners are pure porn (the good kind, nothing kinky.). It even tells you it takes the special “0170” formula of oil right there on the filler cap! (smiley face emoji would go here, heh, heh).
Here’s the ad:
“Selling my Alfa Romeo. I got it for myself but have acquired a e30 iv set my sights on and the Alfa been sitting awhile. The Romeo starts right up the first time, every time. Runs & drives very good. Excellent condition minus the clear coat which is fading. Everything original. Nothing is missing. Needs front brake pads to be daily driven. I have ordered them and they will be here by Friday. Manual transmission. Firm clutch. 190k miles. Clean Co title. 1500obo maybe trade”
See? He says it all works. You could change the pads yourself since it’s already after Friday, so they should be there by now. It’s ready. It made it 190k miles, it’ll make it back to your house. Alfas just need to be driven.
Alright, maybe you’re a little nervous about an Alfa, I hear you. Or you’re Mdlaughlin, our current COALer with all the Toyotas. In which case, how about America’s favorite car in every auto enthusiast’s favorite body style? This quite attractive second generation 1991 Camry wagon with only 119,000 miles from way back when Toyota still styled cars sensibly can be yours for $1800.
Those seats look brand new and I know they do not make cloth seats that feel like this cloth anymore. The dash has a little cracking going on but otherwise the interior looks mint. Slap that auto into Drive and you should be good to go for as long as you need, everyone knows these cars are pretty much unburstable and with those miles the 2.0 liter 4cylinder is just starting to get broken in. As a bonus you can even sleep in the back on your trip!
Here’s the ad which unfortunately is a little on the skimpy side but hey, it’s a Camry, what could possibly be a problem?
“For sale is 1991Toyota Camry station wagon. 4 cylinder automatic in good running condition. The interior is clean. Please call or text Kerry. I do not respond to email.”
OK, so the back bumper needs a little paint but at least there’s no dent, right?
So, that was the last of our eight contenders. The question was which one would you spend your money on and drive home and why (and how far)?
Oh, hang on a minute, let’s channel Billy Mays and say “BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!” (All caps since that’s how he talked, may he rest in peace.) While searching for these I came across our first CC For Sale again, the 1993 Pontiac Sunbird from a month ago. It is still available which surprised me as a lot of you guys seemed to like it, I thought someone would have jumped on it! The price has been reduced to $700 (was $750) and it still needs the clutch repaired. Budget a couple of days for that and you’ll still be way under budget. So that one’s still an option too as our bonus 9th contender. Happy deciding!
(Author’s note: All vehicles above were still active on Colorado’s Craigslists as of midnight prior to posting.)